The Troglodytes formed in 1964 and were signed to Page One Records in 1965. In 1966, with the band's name shortened to The Troggs, they released the Chip Taylor song "Wild Thing" as the B-side of "Lost Girl". Taylor (real name James Voight) is the brother of American actor Jon Voight. He'd written the song in 1965 and it had been a minor hit for Jordan Christopher and the Wild Ones. Their version was bright and lively but when the Troggs got hold of it, they turned it into a much heavier rock number with the middle eight being played on an ocarina. What helped sell the song was the raspy voice of singer Reg Presley.
Presley had a distinctive style far different from any of the dominant British singers of the time (Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Ray Davies, Roger Daltry, et. al.). Presley and his mates, all from Andover, Hampshire, England, were basically a no-frills straight rock presentation (guitar, bass, drums). They are often called the godfathers of punk and garage rock. Every song they did had just enough instrumentation to make it work in the studio and on stage. Presley's voice was strong enough to carry the rockers as well as the ballads.
Presley and the Troggs scored a big hit with "Wild Thing" and the follow-up "With a Girl Like You". It should've been enough to propel them to superstardom but they didn't tour America until 1968. By then, "Wild Thing" was a sentimental favorite but had been eclipsed by "Pet Sounds" (Beach Boys) and "Sgt. Pepper" (The Beatles). The Troggs broke up in 1969 but rebanded in 1971, again too little too late.
The band continued to tour England and Europe and recorded several albums that sustained their position. "Cellophane" and "The Trogg Tapes" are the highlights of the years between 1971 and 1996. Presley's influence can be heard in the songs of Iggy Pop and The Ramones, both of whom covered at least one song by the Troggs. Jimi Hendrix performed "Wild Thing" at the Monterey Jazz Festival. It is essentially the Troggs' version amplified with a guitar solo.
Presley experienced a series of strokes dating back to 2010. Between then and January 2012, he was diagnosed with lung cancer which caused him to retire from music. He died on Feb. 4, 2013, silencing one of rock's most intriguing voices.